POLISH CAVING 2001
|Rafał Mateja, Marek Wierzbowski|
|Sekcja Grotołazów Wrocław|
During the nineties exploration in the system of the largest and deepest cave in Poland flourished. Independent groups of cavers discovered many new passages in different areas of this vast cave system. Connecting the Wielka Snieżna with Wielka Litworowa and Wilcza gave the system two new entrances, extended its length to over 20 kilometers and its depth to 816 meters. The Śnieżna cave was discovered in 1959, and over the course of time it was connected with other caves in the area. The exploration of its main parts was already finished in the sixties, although during the seventies and eighties new sections were explored, mainly by climbing or diving.
The idea of extending the system horizontally in the direction of the
insufficiently explored massifs of Krzesanica and Ciemniak was born in
the early 90s. A group of Wrocław cavers directed by Witold Jokiel made
the first discoveries extending the system in westward direction. The
extension of the Galeria Krokodyla was found and in the January 1996 Jaskinia
Wielka Litworowa was connected to the Wielka Śnieżna.
The difficulties encountered in the Galeria Krokodyla and its great distance
from the entrance made it the most challenging exploration project at
that time. Galeria Krokodyla extensive passageways are a series of ramps
and domes connected by often small, uncomfortable, slippery canyons. All
that prepared us for what was to come after discovering this new extensive
section of the cave called .
The first discoveries in the Przemkowe Partie were made in October 1994. At that time a long dig with significant airflow yielded 100 meters of very tight passage, which led to the base of the dome. A few meters off the floor of this dome a small and uncomfortable passage was discovered. The dome itself was later used as a place to camp, and the passage lead into an extensive cave system with three independent water flows. Two of which supply more water than Śnieżna on comparable depth levels. Half year later, after a break caused by extensive snowfall, five in cave bivouacs were organized. It was the most intensive time of exploration and at the time all the easy leads were checked. Many of leads still remained, but all of them required difficult climbing or passing through very tight squeezes. An extensive set of climbing equipment had to be added to the exploration gear.
The continuous problems of accessing the cave through the snow-covered entrance drove us to areas where discovering a new entrance was possible. So in 1996 Partie za Kolankiem section became the target of our exploration. The whole project started when three consecutive trips did not reach Przemkowe Partie. Since the access to the Przemkowe Partie is very time consuming and hard all the trips there were well planed and involved long in cave camp in. However the large amounts of snow sucked into its entry sections of the cave made it often impossible to enter. Many hours of digging and constructing an igloo and tunnel system were required to reach the cave entrance itself. The suction generated by the cave was so strong that if the tunnel was left open it took only couple of hours for the cave to suck sufficient amounts of snow to block the entry passage and trap the cavers. Unfortunately this happened on a number of occasions.
POLISH CAVING 2001